Here are the lesser-known tricks to use to upgrade vacations and still save money on all the vacation basics, including hotels, airfare, attractions, dining and more.
1. Book An Extra Leg of Your Flight
Airline ticket prices aren’t based on distance traveled, but by market demand.
The most direct flight isn't always be your cheapest option. In fact, adding an extra leg to your itinerary that you won’t actually fly can save you tons of money.
Play around with city leg combinations or use Skiplagged.com, a website that does the work for you. However, make sure to book two one-leg trips, instead of two round-trips, as once you don’t complete a section of your booking, the rest typically gets cancelled.
Potential savings: Save up to 80 percent on airfare using this method, according to Skiplagged.
2. Use Free Days and Discounts for Attractions
Many top attractions in cities are free or can be discounted. There are plenty of free museums or at least days where fees are waived. You just have to do your research in advance.
Most parks and outdoor attractions are free, such as Central Park in New York City.
A student ID can also help snag discounts on attractions and possibly even free admission. Even if you’re no longer a student, if it’s not expired, it will work. Some museums also offer teacher discounts so bring your I.D.
3. Upgrade to First Class at the Last Minute
Consider a same day travel upgrade on airfare., and fly first class for as little as $50 more. Buddy up with check-in agents at the airport and see if you can get an low-fee upgrade on your ticket at the time of check-in. Also, ask for a travel upgrade on any connecting flights.
4. Use a Travel Membership Program
By becoming a member of a travel membership program, you can save on everything from rental cars, to cruises, hotels and more. Try the website SnazzyTraveler.com, which has a $99 per-year membership.
5. Be an Airline Club Member for a Day
Instead of paying fees to be an airline club member year-round, join the club for just one day.
This deal can be especially lucrative when traveling as a family. For example, with the American Airlines program, up to three children can upgrade with an adult at no extra charge. American Airlines charges only $50 per person for a one-day pass, she said. This allows the flyer to gain access to club rooms full of free snacks and free WiFi access.
6. Take Advantage of Priceline
A loophole in the “Name Your Own Price” feature on Priceline.com might help you book at a lower price.
You have to enter your credit card information before you bid, and if Priceline accepts it, it automatically charges your credit card a non-refundable booking. When Priceline asks for your credit card information, use a prepaid Visa gift card with a small balance — i.e. $2.
When you bid what you are willing to pay for a room, if Priceline accepts it, it will say it was unable to charge your credit card. Now you can re-bid at a lower rate, and continue doing so until it rejects a bid. Then you know the best possible rate, and you book it at that rate with your real credit card, and not pay a penny more.
7. Travel To A Discounted Location
When determining where to take your next vacation, purposely travel to a location where your dollar will go far.
You would be amazed at how luxurious your travels can get once you travel somewhere your currency stretches far. Even in an economical country, you will still need to do your research. Use Trip Advisor to find the best accommodations.
Holly Hammersmith May 31, 2016